Lego IKO Uses Childhood Imagination to Empower Kids Missing Limbs

There are few toys in this world as iconic as Legos. Building blocks that allow kids to shape a world all their have now been the inspiration for a theme park, a feature length film, and 56 video games.

Lego has done a lot to make childhood dreams come true, but nothing quite like what Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar of Umeå University in Sweden has developed.

Carlos has created a fully customizable Lego prosthetic attachment for children who have lost limbs, allowing them the enhanced mobility offered by prosthetic limbs, with the childhood fun of playing with Legos.

Why make a prosthesis out of Lego instead of some other more practical material?

Lego IKO Uses Childhood Imagination to Empower Kids Missing Limbs - Clapway

There are other materials that a prosthetic could be composed of that would make a world class artificial limb, but that’s not what Carlos was after when he designed his Lego IKO limb specifically for kids.

Any prosthetic can perform the basic functions that are so difficult when a limb is missing, but the Lego prosthesis instills confidence in kids through play, and increased ability to make decisions about exactly what they want their new limb to be. According to Carlos in his abstract discussing the IKO Lego design, “IKO is a creative prosthetic system designed for children to explore and empower their creativity in a playful, social and friendly way. What if kids could use their imagination to create their own tools according to their own needs; disabled kids needs are not always related to physical activity but often alternatively the social and psychological aspect; what if kids could make their own prosthetics and have fun at the same time?”

In developing the limbs Carlos demonstrates an understanding of something that not many before him have taken the time to consider. Kids have different needs in every other aspect of their lives and it shouldn’t stop at prosthetic limbs.

How exactly does the Lego IKO work?


Lego IKO Uses Childhood Imagination to Empower Kids Missing Limbs - ClapwayThe arms breaks down into four main components; the interface which includes the socket and battery, the charging/ docking station, the muscle (power functions), and the hand. The hand system allows kids to easily screw and unscrew components depending on what they want to create. They could have a grabbing claw, then easily unscrew it to add a rocket ship component to the end of their attachment.

Carlo’s innovative Lego IKO design will allow for kids who may be missing a limb to be kids again, no matter how difficult an adjustment it may be for them. You can watch the video of Carlos design in action here.


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